Minister Humphreys announces return of Supervalu Tidy Towns Competition

  • Iconic competition makes comeback following Covid-19 disruption
  • TidyTowns groups to showcase their communities via electronic entry
  • New prize category to recognise role played by volunteers throughout pandemic
  • Special award for young people as per commitment under ‘Our Rural Future’
  • Over 800 Tidy Towns groups across the country have been awarded special €1,000 grant to support their efforts

 The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, has today (21st May, 2021) announced the return of the Supervalu Tidy Towns Competition.

The iconic competition was cancelled in 2020 – for the first time in over 60 years – due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.

But special arrangements have now been put in place to ensure the return of the competition this year, with the overall winners due to be announced before the end of the year.

The 2021 Supervalu Tidy Towns competition will take place in the same format as previous years, albeit with a specific emphasis on electronic entry and remote adjudication of each town’s entry.

Groups should continue to adhere to public health guidelines as they have done so remarkably well since the onset of the Pandemic.

The health and safety of volunteers continues to be paramount.

It is acknowledged that volunteers have not been able to deliver on all of the plans that they may have had for their towns, and the competition adjudicators will be mindful of this fact when assessing entries.

At the same time, many groups have still been very active and the standard of competition is expected to be high again this year amongst the almost 1,000 TidyTowns groups around the country.

Above all, staging the competition this year is a recognition of the extraordinary contribution volunteers continued to make to their communities, even during the Pandemic itself.

For this reason, Minister Humphreys has introduced a new award category aimed at groups that have continued to serve and look after their communities despite the difficulties posed by Covid-19.

The Minister has also introduced a special prize for young people, which was committed to under Our Rural Future – ­the Government’s ambitious new strategy for Rural Ireland.

Minister Humphreys announced a €1 million fund in December to further support the Tidy Towns Groups across the country.

Today, the Minister confirmed that over 800 Tidy Town Groups have now been awarded grants of up to €1,000 under this Fund

Minister Humphreys today formally launched the 2021 Supervalu Tidy Towns Competition in Glaslough, County Monaghan – the 2019 winners of the competition.

Speaking in Glaslough, Minister Humphreys said:

“Missing out on the competition last year was very disappointing for everyone associated with TidyTowns. That’s why I am delighted to announce that this iconic competition is back.

“I am sure the thousands of volunteers around the country are relieved that we have finally reached the point where we can launch the 2021 Supervalu Tidy Towns competition and are excited for the months ahead.

“While the last year has been so challenging for everyone, I know that so many Tidy Towns volunteers the length and breadth of the country have continued to look after their communities.

“Many groups have been unable to deliver on the projects they had planned due to Covid-19.

“That will not impact in any shape or form on this year’s competition and I am encouraging each and every one of the 987 registered groups across the country to enter once again.”

Also speaking about the launch today, Ian Allen, Managing Director of SuperValu:

“This year marks 30 years of SuperValu’s continuous support for and sponsorship of the national TidyTowns competition.

“As one of the longest-running community and sustainability initiatives in Ireland, TidyTowns is an incredibly important programme that all of us at SuperValu are immensely proud to be a part of.

“At its heart, TidyTowns is the public expression of the work countless individuals undertake to make our communities better places in which to work and live.

“Following a year like no other, this year’s competition is about recognising work of volunteers who have continued in every way possible and collectively help to lift the mood of the nation.”

The Minister continued:

“TidyTowns is not just a competition. It demonstrates everything good about our people – volunteerism, positivity, working together, community spirit, protecting our environment, that sense of pride in looking after the place you call home. 

“This is a really special day. I want to pay tribute to the huge role played by TidyTowns groups in inspiring vibrant communities and generating a spirit of volunteerism in towns and villages across the country – qualities that are at the core of “Our Rural Future”.

“I am also pleased to include a special award this year for young people involved in TidyTowns which is a specific recommendation contained in the Government’s strategy for Rural Ireland. I would also encourage local groups to continue their great efforts at promoting and enhancing biodiversity in our local towns.

“TidyTowns volunteers are rightly proud of their locality – their efforts make towns and villages the length and breadth of the country better places to live and to visit.  For years, TidyTowns volunteers have shown great resilience and determination – even more so over the past year as our communities came together in the face of adversity.

“In recognition of this, we have also introduced a special award to recognise the contribution that TidyTowns groups have made to their communities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including as part of the Covid-19 Community call.

“As we look ahead to an outdoor Summer and staycations, we want our local towns and villages right across the country to be attractive, welcoming places. The trojan work carried out by our local Tidy Towns volunteers will be central to achieving that. My message is clear – Tidy Towns is back this year and it is bigger, better and more important than ever.”

Minister Humphreys concluded:

“I value the role my Department plays in this competition. I want to also commend the competition sponsor, SuperValu, for their continuing support and enthusiasm in raising awareness of the competition. Now in their 30th year of sponsorship, through their nationwide network of retailers, SuperValu have helped the competition to become the best known sustainable and environmental initiative in Ireland.

“Finally, I want to encourage all groups to continue to adhere to the public health advice and I wish all the volunteers the very best in this year’s competition.”

Further details on the competition and access to supporting resources are available at www.tidytowns.ie

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SuperValu & AsIAm launch “Say yes to autism acceptance” campaign

AsIAm asking public to donate on asiam.ie/donate as queries to its service increase by 280% on the same period prior to the pandemic and share #AutismMonthSayYes on social media channels

Too often autistic people face invisible barriers because of how the world works and the judgement and attitudes of others. They are so used to being told ‘No’. And so, to mark Autism Awareness Month in April SuperValu & AsIAm have teamed up to launch “Say Yes to Autism Acceptance”. The aim of the campaign is to encourage people to say ‘Yes’ for a change: Yes to employment, Yes to education and Yes to community inclusion. The campaign will include a “Say Yes to Autism Acceptance” guide with 10 ways to say yes to Autism Acceptance, which will be available in SuperValu stores throughout World Autism Month in April.

As part of the campaign, AsIAm is asking the public to donate on asiam.ie/donate as queries to its service increase by 280% on the same period prior to the pandemic, and share #AutismMonthSayYes on social channels.

At least 1 in 65 people in Ireland are autistic and nearly 300,000 people have an immediate family member on the autism spectrum. Autistic people are as diverse as the society we live in and are already making contributions to communities across Ireland. World Autism Month is an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the autism community and create more inclusive communities by expanding knowledge, understanding and acceptance. AsIAm and SuperValu are on a journey to build more inclusive communities across Ireland.

Commenting on the campaign CEO of AsIAm Adam Harris said, World Autism Month is an important milestone each year, aiming to create awareness and understanding so we can have a more inclusive society.  It is particularly important this year as we see the enormous impact COVID-19 is having on autistic people. Many autistic people and their families are experiencing major challenges having not been prioritised or meaningfully supported through COVID-19. The loss of routine and structure and the closure of essential services has had a long-term impact. Our community will need significant support to come through this period.

“As we look to the future and as we emerge from this awful pandemic we do not want to go back to the “old normal”, rather we want a brighter, more inclusive society which is fair to autistic people. Many people in our community are used to being told no from a very young age – no you can’t make friends, no we can’t provide you with the support you need and no, you can’t get a job. Since COIVD-19, we have all looked at how we can do things differently, and we should look at how people with autism are treated. We have an amazing opportunity to create a society which is not merely aware of autism but rather truly accepts autistic people – valuing our contribution, meeting our needs and working together.

“We are proud to be working with SuperValu this World Autism Day to ask people around Ireland to say yes to their 78,000 friends, family members and colleagues who are autistic and yes to their 300,000 mums, dads, husbands, wives and siblings. We can all achieve this by committing to small changes to make our communities more inclusive, by sharing our commitment online with #AutismMonthSayYes and critically, you can donate to AsIAm, Ireland’s National Autism Charity, to help us support the autism community through COVID-19 and beyond.”

SuperValu is dedicated to making communities around Ireland more inclusive and is leading the way in autism-friendly shopping by continuously raising understanding and awareness of autism among its communities, customers and staff. Ian Allen, Managing Director, SuperValu said “Our partnership with AsIAm is hugely important and we are so proud to be able to build on the impactful work done with AsIAm in stores and communities around Ireland. To continue our mission to make Ireland more inclusive the “Say Yes to Autism Acceptance” Guide will be available in all stores throughout April. The guide aims to help to create awareness and understanding and provide practical guidance so our communities can better support autistic people and their families. We encourage people to pick up a guide in store, support AsIAm services by donating and join us in creating a more inclusive society.”

10 ways you can help to say Yes to Autism Acceptance:

  1. Being clear
  2. Being patient
  3. Reaching out
  4. Being aware of the sensory environment
  5. Fill in the gaps
  6. Being accepting
  7. Watch your language
  8. Challenge stigma and bullying
  9. Listening and learning
  10. Seeing our abilities
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